The fires have displaced so many people and every one of them left their home without choice. For their own safety, they had to leave. Every person has a different story, a different set of circumstances that they had to leave behind.
We think of loss in terms of the house or the property when we think of the evacuees. We wonder what they will be going home to. We hope and pray that their homes are still standing, that after this trauma, settling back in will be easy for them.
Here at PG Hospice we have had the privilege of hosting four families.
Now just stop for a minute and think about that…
Palliative or End of Life Care and then evacuation. It takes my breath away as I write.
The fear and uncertainty that these families experience as the illness takes over their lives can be overwhelming at the best of times. Now to be here and to wonder whether or not you will ALL be going back home together… The loss of safety, the disconnection from your support network, the "not knowing" what you will encounter in Prince George. Imagine how that would make you feel.
It is the small comforts, like your favorite coffee cup, or reading the morning paper at your own kitchen table, seeing people you know at the grocery store and stopping for a chat that matter Mowing your lawn or weeding your own garden. It is in the small moments that a life – a family is built and bonded. It is in the seemingly insignificant things that love and connection thrive. All of the familiar is left behind for these people.
I am once again astounded by how remarkable people can be. They are here at Hospice and they are kind and grateful. Over the course of a couple of days you can see their anxiety lessen and they settle in. For a while, perhaps, this will become their home.
"At least we are together," they say. Or, "there's nothing we can do about it, so we will make the best of it." They spend their days caring for each other, and chatting with other families in the kitchen. The family members use our gym, they find books to read, they have their favorite shows on the TV.
The guests let their stress fall off of them and do everything they can to enjoy their days with their family.
Not knowing, uncertainty, displacement, and every one of these people find reasons to be grateful every day. They are kind to one another and they are kind to the staff and volunteers at Hospice. So a great big WOW.
I have always said that working at Hospice helps me put things in perspective. It has taught me that much of what I used to worry about isn't worth the energy. It has taught me that relationships matter and that caring for one another is powerful.
The experience with our guests from out of town has taken all of these lessons to a new level.
I am humbled by their grace.